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Pilot instructor suffers heart attack during flight: Student thought it was an act

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  • Staff Report 

A flight instructor suffered a heart attack during a flight, but the pilot believed he was pretending to sleep. The incident occurred on June 29th, 2022, when a pilot with over 9,000 flight hours under his belt took his friend, a 57-year-old instructor, with him on a circuit above Blackpool Airport in Lancashire, England. The pilot, whose name was not disclosed, had asked the instructor to join him because of high winds in the area, and he wanted somebody else with experience in the cockpit.

Shortly after takeoff, the instructor’s head rolled back, and he became unresponsive. Despite this, the pilot thought he was just pretending to sleep during the flight. When the plane turned around and the instructor’s head rested on his shoulder, he still believed it was part of the joke. The pilot proceeded to fly the aircraft around the circuit as planned.

DiSanto Propane (Billboard)

Upon landing, the pilot realized something was wrong and called the airport’s fire crew for assistance. Paramedics arrived at the airport but were unable to save the instructor, who was pronounced dead.

“The pilot knew the instructor well and thought he was just pretending to take a nap whilst the pilot flew the circuit, so he did not think anything was wrong at this stage. He proceeded to fly the aircraft round the circuit,” the Air Accidents Investigation Branch wrote in a report about the incident.

The report did not identify the pilot or the instructor by name. It concluded that “this was a tragic event, which resulted in the loss of an experienced instructor who was well known and respected within the aviation community.”



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